Once again, Lise Gold writes the sweetest characters. Cara is an unemployed journalist, living in London in a filthy apartment with her best friend, an performance artist called Dan. Dan is worried that she’s getting more and more depressed and asks his new girlfriend Billie to help Cara get a job on the cruise ship she works on as the animation team leader. Cara is hired to carve fruit and the two women find themselves sharing a cabin and cruising around the world for six months. As luck would have it, Dan, who doesn’t usually really do relationships, seems to like Billie a lot, so when Cara finds herself terribly attracted to her new friend and roommate, she struggles with her loyalty towards him. But she’s only human, and when Billie makes it clear the attraction is mutual, how is she supposed to resist? As usual with this author’s books, the chemistry between the characters is palpable, and there are some rather steamy scenes in between the fun and witty bantering dialogues. Also as usual, the way Lise Gold describes all the places the characters get to see while working on the ship makes want to visit them too. And eat the same food!
There were a couple of things I didn’t like, though. The whole Gwen story made me uncomfortable. Gwen is the Captain’s daughter and she takes full advantage of that fact, acting like Billie’s job is to be her personal assistant, hitting on her relentlessly and being an all-around pest. I didn’t like the way she treated Billie and I didn’t like either how Cara and the others made light of Gwen’s desire to always be thinner. It sounded an awful lot like anorexia, which isn’t fun at all. Sure, she was totally obnoxious and all but being a spoilt brat whose only concern seems to be whether a landscape is Instagram-worthy doesn’t mean you can’t also suffer from real problems. The other – much more minor – thing is Cara’s job as a journalist. Maybe things are different in the UK from what I know in France, but in my experience, an unemployed journalist will do freelance work, while looking (or not) for a more stable position but there are so few of those that freelancing is the rule, especially for younger journalists.
Anyhow, neither of these are big enough reasons to stop you from giving The Cruise a chance, when there are so many reasons to enjoy it. The writing is good, the characters are lovely, the chemistry is fantastic, the ending works. There’s also a very moving scene between Billie and her mother (who is not one of those overbearing yet perfect mothers who populate lesfic romance), which I didn’t expect at all and which left me teary-eyed.